Self-help message board
How to contact us
Web links directory
Tips and advice
Help Me, I'm new!
Fair pricing petition
Premiere 6 (trial)
Paint Shop Pro 7 (trial)
How to get started with
computer video editing
Join our ongoing campaign
Sony VX2000 replacement
said to offer 1 lux low-light performance, low-reflectivity LCD monitor,
improved audio sensitivity and more comfortable shooting
The DCR-VX2100 -
Sony's replacement for the Editor's Choice award-winning DCR-VX2000
semi-pro three-CCD MiniDV camcorder (review, July 2000, p30) is due
in December at a likely price of £2,700 (inc VAT).
Key changes are said to include improved low-light filming, reduced
reflectivity on the fold-out LCD monitor (claimed to make it usable
even under bright outdoor conditions), and the fitting on the handle
of a start/stop button and a three-position zoom control. The handle
itself has been raised and re-sized to give better handling when shooting
low angles. Manual sound recording sensitivity is also reckoned to have
been enhanced - by roughly 6dB - by using more accurate audio sampling.
The viewfinder and eye-cup attachment are larger than on the VX2000,
for more comfortable shooting, and the removable lens hood has a built-in
cap that opens/closes using a lever on the side. The VX2100 uses Sony's
Stamina InfoLithium rechargeable battery technology, and the supplied
NP-F960 is claimed to last for up to nine hours continuous recording.
Sony says that the sensitivity of the 1/3-inch imaging CCDs has been
increased to give clearer, brighter pictures in low-light - with shooting
possible in levels as low as 1 lux, compared with 2 lux for the VX2000E.
If another claim is true - that the display of the LCD monitor can be
seen outdoors in bright light - that's a big step forward, but the screen
size remains at 2.5in, which VX2000 users know is too small for comfort.
The rest of the features list reads much like that for the VX2000 and
includes an f1.6-f2.4/12x optical zoom lens (6-72mm - equivalent to
43-516mm on a 35mm camera); 48x digital zoom; two-level neutral density
filter; 12-bit/32kHz and 16-bit/48kHz audio; manual gain, iris and shutter
speeds (to 1/10,000 sec); 58mm filter thread; 640x480 pixel stills capture
to Memory Stick (8MByte supplied); and inputs and outputs for FireWire
(i.Link) and analogue video (S-video and composite) and L/R audio.
Sony UK, 08705 111999;
LaCie 320GByte external
hard drives with FireWire, or FireWire 800/USB 2.0
Two 320GByte external
hard drives now feature in LaCie's Big Disk range, one with standard-speed
FireWire sockets (SRP £316 inc VAT), the other with high-speed
FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 (£422).
Multiple Big Disks can be configured for mirroring (Raid 1) for extra
speed, or striping (Raid 0) to enhance data security. The drives within
the housings are 7,200rpm ATAPI units with 2MByte buffers.
The Big Disks - said to be bootable under all versions of MacOS - come
with drivers for Windows (98SE to 2000) and MacOS (8.6 to 9.x) and use
the operating system's own drivers with Win XP and with OS X. Also in-pack
are LaCie's Silverlining disk utilities software for Mac/Windows and
SilverKeeper Mac backup software.
LaCie, 020 7872
The Mac OS we've
been waiting for?
better switching between programs and users, and enhanced Windows integration
among 150 claimed new features in Mac OS 10.3
Nearly three years
after Apple's Unix-based OS X operating system first became available,
the newly launched, fourth iteration, 10.3 Panther, might be the version
that convinces many of the large number of businesses and individuals
still using OS 9 to upgrade - helped by the fact that most of the key
programs, including QuarkXpress and Adobe's family of still image tools,
are now available in OS X versions.
Most obvious of 150 claimed new features in Panther - SRP £99
(inc VAT) - is the reworked Finder navigation window which, like Windows
XP's Explorer, has a quick-access sidebar on the left. This gives instant
access to favourite programs and folders, hard drives, servers and removable
media. As in XP, the sidebar appears in Open and Save dialogues, but
can be more comprehensively customised than XP's sidebar. The sidebar
has eject buttons for CDs, DVDs and other removable media, so there's
no longer need to fret about dragging disc icons to the Trash to eject
No less important is Exposé - a new way of quickly viewing and
switching between open program windows. Customisable shortcut keys allow
users to switch between special views - all open windows shown as (active)
thumbnails, only the windows of a particular application, or all windows
hidden to reveal the full desktop. Exposé will make a big difference
to those who run lots of programs simultaneously, since thumbnail windows
are surprisingly effective, and switching between views is simple and
Fast user-switching has been borrowed from Windows XP. It allows a number
of people to more conveniently share a single computer and have the
running programs on their own desktops unaffected if others start up
different desktops. Users can encrypt their home folders if concerned
about security. An eye-catching touch is that, when switching from one
user's setup to another, the two desktops are shown on the faces of
a rotating cube.
Integration with Windows PCs and networks is claimed to be improved,
with Macs more easily able to use Windows printers, access Windows file
servers and share their own drives and printers with Windows PCs. Macs
in businesses can use the same email infrastructure as Windows PCs -
OS 10.3 works with Microsoft Exchange email servers and address books.
The OS also supports Zip file compression/decompression and has an integrated
font management tool, Font Book, to preview, install and uninstall fonts,
either in sets or individually. These two things, until now, required
the use of third-party programs.
The OS is said to be faster than previous OS X versions in starting
up, shutting down and running programs, and to work on any PowerPC Mac
with built-in USB and a G3, G4, or G5 processor (processor upgrade cards
are not supported, though). One word of caution - a bug in the initial
release could result in data on FireWire 800 hard disk drives being
lost. Apple has warned users not to use OS 10.3 with drives based on
Oxford 922 chip-sets until a fix has been produced.
Apple, 0800 783
1GHz/17in eMac comes
in at £650 - or £850 with DVD burner, bigger HDD and more
A 1GHz G4 Apple
eMac running the latest OS V10.3 and equipped with a 17in CRT display,
CD-RW/DVD-ROM combi drive, 128MByte of SDRAM and a 40GByte Ultra ATA
drive costs £650 (inc VAT). An extra £200 buys double the
memory and hard disk space, along with a SuperDrive DVD-R/-RW burner.
Other shared features on the two eMacs include an ATI Radeon 7500 graphics
card with 32MByte of DDR video memory; two FireWire ports; three USB
ports; and Apple's iLife suite of applications for video editing (iMovie),
DVD authoring (iDVD), image manipulation (iPhoto), and music management
Also common to both are 10/100Base-T Ethernet, a 56K modem, and the
ability to be upgraded to run Apple's Airport Extreme wireless network.
Apple UK, 0800 783
Avid Xpress Pro
video editing packages Xpress Pro (news, Aug 2003, p6) and NewsCutter
XP 5.0 are now shipping. SRPs are £1,528 (inc VAT) and $6,995
(UK pricing tbc), with the option of the £1,528 Avid Mojo DNA
(Digital Nonlinear Accelerator) hardware for analogue/DV capture and
hardware-accelerated real-time effects and DV in/output.
Avid, 01753 655999; www.avid.co.uk
Canopus Premiere Pro support
Drivers (a 13.6MByte
download) are now available to allow Canopus's real-time video editing
cards DVStorm 2 (review, April 2003, p32) and DVRaptor RT2 (review,
p22) to work with Adobe Premiere Pro (review, December 2003, p30).
The cards have onboard hardware DV Codecs that provide real-time DV
and uncompressed analogue (YUV 4:2:2) output, and relieve Premiere Pro
of CPU-intensive rendering. More available processor power should mean
more real-time previewing of special effects, including keyframable
2D, 3D, alpha video transitions and layered filtering.
Canopus UK, 0118 921 0150; www.canopus-uk.com
Roxio Easy CD & DVD 6.2 updater
Version 6.2 of Roxio's
CD and DVD burning suite Easy CD & DVD Creator 6 (review, July 2003,
p40) is available for free via download (32MByte).
Lead feature is the ability to backup up unprotected/encrypted DVDs
- even dual-layer - by compressing contents and burning to recordable
Also new is support for WMDM-compliant portable audio players, overburning
to 90min and 99min CDs, power management for laptops and multi-lingual
Roxio, 0049 2405
Reviewed in this issue:
SonicFoundry SonicFire Pro 3
Adobe Encore DVD
In the news:
LaCie 320GByte HDDs
The Mac OS we've been waiting for?
Avid Xpress Pro
Canopus Premiere Pro support
Roxio Easy CD & DVD 6.2 updater